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Electric car revolution

Ted Gushue discovers the most exciting all-electric supercars in the making and looks forward to driving them on the scenic Alpine mountain passes of Switzerland and Italy

In 1898 the first car to be designed and built by Ferdinand Porsche was entirely electric, yet the company to carry his namesake would take more than 120 years to release its second electric masterpiece to the world: the Porsche Taycan. In between then and now the automotive industry has dabbled with electricity, but in the last 15 years it is fair to say that we have fully entered the age of the electric car, and with it the age of the electric hypercar. 

As the Engadine Valley continues its push towards full sustainability, we are eagerly awaiting the days when guests will come speeding through mountain passes in total silence with nothing but the sound of their tyres gripping the Swiss tarmac.

While there are many electric cars currently available, we’ve decided to highlight the most exciting, the most powerful, and indeed the most precious hypercars coming to market in the immediate future.

Tesla Roadster

When Tesla began production on the Tesla Roadster in 2008 the world was entirely allergic to the concept of an all-electric performance car, you quite literally could not even purchase an all-electric car from any major manufacturer. Fast forward 10 years or so and there is now literally one floating in space, Tesla has sold countless hundreds of thousands of all-electric cars, and they have unveiled the rightful successor to the plucky little Roadster that started it all. 

The  ‘2020’ Tesla Roadster as revealed (at time of this writing not yet delivered to customers) has, in typical Tesla fashion, bold claims for what it is capable of pushing out performance wise: 0 to 100 kph (0 to 62 mph) in a blistering 1.9 seconds, a top speed of more than 402 kph (250 mph), with a range of nearly 1,000 kilometres (620 miles). These speeds would have been unheard of just five years ago, and to be fair until we get one in our hands to prove for ourselves they remain so. 

Where to drive the Tesla Roadster

Flüela Pass, a high-mountain pass in the canton of Graubünden. Exciting and challenging, the Flüela is the gateway to Austria and beyond, which with the range of 998 kilometres (620 miles) are well within your grasp from St Moritz.

Rimac C_Two

When you think of blistering edge automotive performance and innovative battery technology, Croatia isn’t likely the first place to come to mind. Mate Rimac (pronounced Rim-atz) changed all of that when he started winning international recognition for his engineering achievements as a teenager before developing an all-electric BMW race car around his 18th birthday. In 2011 he launched his first all-electric hyper car, the Rimac Concept One, and he’s been electric-pedal to the high-tech metal since then.

Today the 32-year-old Mate Rimac is the largest employer in Croatia. His company is 15 per cent owned by Porsche AG (which uses his battery technology in its Taycan), and he’s starting to deliver 150 Rimac C_Two hypercars with incredible performance: 0 to 60 mph (0 to 62 kph) in 1.85 seconds, and a top speed of 258 mph (515 kph). 

Sadly all 150 Rimac C_Twos are already spoken for, but as Mate is only in his early 30s we have a strong feeling this won’t be the last hyper car you’ll be able to purchase from Croatia. 

Where to drive the Rimac C_Two

Maloja Pass in the Swiss Alps. After enjoying a leisurely lunch in Milan, get behind the wheel of this supercar and experience its thrilling capabilities as you drive up the 1,815-metre (5,954 feet) Maloja Pass, which links the Engadine with the Val Bregaglia.

Lotus Evija

It’s difficult to be an automotive enthusiast and not be familiar with the heritage behind the name Lotus: Formula 1 championships, pocket-sized performance cars, and pure driving pleasure (often at the expense of reliability) immediately spring to mind. But it wasn’t until China’s third largest automaker Geely decided to pick the brand up that it began to be associated with electric power. 

Geely is the manufacturer behind the resurgence of Swedish design-led brand Volvo in recent years, so when they relaunched Lotus as an all-electric competitor to Rimac, Pininfarina and even Tesla, the world took notice. In 2019 Lotus unveiled the Evija (pronounced evv-eye-ah), which is roughly translated from the Hebrew word for ‘living, to breathe’. 

Built and developed entirely in the UK, the Evija sits at the top of the list for the most powerful electric hyper car in the world at 2,000 PS (1,972 bhp) and 1,700 Nm (1,253 lb ft) of torque, which is roughly double what McLaren’s top of the range Senna delivers on the road. It weighs in a full third of a tonne lighter than the 1,950-kilogramme Rimac C_Two. Much like the C_Two, however, the model will be extremely limited, with just 130 models to be producedbj

Where to drive the Evija

Julier Pass, in the Abula range of the Swiss Alps. It is long and demanding and the perfect pass to test the Evija’s performance.

Pininfarina Battista

So let’s say you’re keen on a Rimac C_Two, but you weren’t one of the first 150 to place a deposit, and to be honest would prefer something a bit more Ferrari-like in terms of styling. Enter the Pininfarina Battista, a rolling Rimac C_Two chassis with a body and interior designed and styled entirely by the same design house that has brought virtually every iconic Ferrari design to reality in the last 60 years. 

The name Battista refers to the founder of the Pininfarina, Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina, who opened the shop doors in 1930. In 2015 Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group acquired Pininfarina S.p.A. for just under 170 million Euro. With its financial support of the Pininfarina family legacy that has enabled the company to move beyond automotive stylists and designers into the realm of car manufacturers.

When it rolls off the production line sometime later this year, the Battista will be able to lay claim to being the most powerful car ever designed and built in Italy. Bear in mind, however, that it’s that plucky Croatian and his incredible technological achievements that will be pushing you from 0 to 100 kph (0 to 62 mph) in well under 2 seconds.

Where to drive the Pininfarina Battista

Bernina Pass, which is the home to the Bernina Granturismo racing event. It is the appropriate breathtaking backdrop for an electric vehicle with distinctive Pinanfarina design features.

Ted Gushue is an independent digital media consultant and photographer living in London, who specialises in motoring and the automotive industry.

Published July 2020

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